Do you like programming challenges? Do you like competition? Do you like money? If you can answer yes to at least two of those three questions, then Code Jam, Google's annual celebration of the art of computer science, is for you. Every autumn, thousands of programmers sign up to tackle the most ego-deflating problems Google's engineers can come up with, in a race against time and their fellow coders. After several elimination rounds, the top 50 finalists get a free trip to the final round at the Googleplex here in Mountain View, where all 50 will wind up with a share of $50,000 in prize money ($10,000 to the winner, at least $250 to all 50 finalists).

So. Are you good? We mean, like, seriously good? Let's find out. Maybe you'll score some cash. Maybe you'll wind up changing the world as a Googler yourself (yes, we'll be interested in perusing code jammers' resumes). But most important, you'll have the sheer intellectual pleasure of testing your gray matter against that of the world's best programmers. Gifted geeks may take up the Code Jam '04 gauntlet here.

-- David Jeske
Software Engineer